Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield

Bellman and BlackAs a boy, William Bellman commits one small, cruel act: killing a bird with his slingshot. Little does he know the unforeseen and terrible consequences of the deed, which is soon forgotten amidst the riot of boyhood games. By the time he is grown, with a wife and children of his own, William seems to be a man blessed by fortune—until tragedy strikes and the stranger in black comes. Then he starts to wonder if all his happiness is about to be eclipsed. Desperate to save the one precious thing he has left, William enters into a rather strange bargain, with an even stranger partner, to found a decidedly macabre business.

And Bellman & Black is born.

I truly enjoyed this book. It’s got a bit of everything I love in it: gothic horror, Victorian historical details, and most of all, crows. It really would have had to have been a ridiculously awful book to not earn a good rating with me on those facts alone.

And it’s nowhere near awful. The writing is lovely, with nuanced phrases that leap off the page. The amount of obvious research the author did to write this book is clear from the incredible details about every aspect of Victorian life. She manages to submerge us into that time period while avoiding the very real danger of overwhelming us with too much information. It was perfectly balanced. I also loved the bits of crow lore sprinkled through the novel.

The only thing I felt could have been better was the ending. It felt too abrupt and it left too many open questions. Since the story doesn’t lend itself to a sequel, I wish the author had given us a bit more closure.

But this is one I highly recommend. There are some truly frightening moments and a taste of fantasy that is sure to capture most readers’ attention.



Nise' said...

This book just came today. I am looking forward to it.

Unknown said...

I've been looking forward to this one for so long... been hearing some disappointing things about it though. Glad to see you enjoyed it though. Just got this one in the mail, should be reading it soon. :)

Bark At The Ghouls said...

Oooo, this one is tempting me even though I already have way too much to read!